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Thursday, May 17, 2012

National Law Journal shines light on obscure part of nominations process

Alliance for Justice has documented the unprecedented obstruction of President Obama's judicial nominees in the U.S. Senate, including a blanket filibuster of seventeen uncontroversial district court nominees. News outlets have picked up on the disturbing trend as well, but most only tell part of the story.

The National Law Journal reported (registration required) this week on the obstacles facing judicial nominees even before the Senate Judiciary Committee gets involved.
The president of Alliance for Justice, Nan Aron, agrees that had Obama made more nominations, more new judges likely would have been confirmed by now. But she said many Republican senators are withholding their recommendations or approval of potential nominees.

For instance, three judge vacancies in Georgia, including a spot on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, are considered judicial emergencies, but have remained empty because the White House and Georgia's two GOP senators have been unable to agree on suitable choices, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on May 9.

For Eleventh Circuit nominee Jill Pryor, those senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, have not yet passed along their "blue slips" to the Senate Judiciary Committee, a courtesy given to home-state senators allowing them to express their opinion before a nomination hearing. The senators also blocked two nominees for the district court, and there are still no replacement nominees for the spots.

When and if senators do finally return their blue slips, nominees are faced with an immediate delay in the Senate Judiciary Committee, as Republicans have made it their habit to request automatic one-week extensions on every nominee. Even worse, Republican senators in the committee seem to do everything in their power to draw out the process.

For more on the record of obstruction in the Senate, download AFJ's latest report, State of the Judiciary: Judicial Selection During the Remainder of President Obama's First Term.

Click here to read the full National Law Journal article.

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